1) Introduction: Cullen Jenkins entered the NFL the hard way, despite having a famous brother in New York Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. Cullen went undrafted in 2003 and after spending a season in Europe, Jenkins made the Green Bay Packers roster and improved so much that he replaced long time Packer Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and was awarded a 4 year $16 million contract extension. The 2010 season is the last on that contract and it looks unlikely that Jenkins will be on the team next year, with 2nd round draft pick Mike Neal and suspended Johnny Jolly coming back into the lineup.
Cullen Darome Jenkins
Height: 6-3 Weight: 292 lbs.
3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: Starter. Cullen Jenkins was again expected to anchor the edge in Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense, a position that is essential for the success of the defense but without much recognition or accolades. At the beginning of the season, Jenkins was the only lineman that was able to produce consistent pressure on the quarterback while still being stout enough against the run and rarely left the field.
4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: The most dominant performance of Jenkins’ 2010 was probably a 2 sack performance against the San Francisco 49ers in week 12. Jenkins was a dominant inside force, coming up 2nd to outside linebacker Clay Matthews III in sacks with 7. His lowlights are the spate of injuries that derailed much of Jenkins season, beginning with a broken hand in the first game and a calf injury that cost him four games at the end of the regular season. Jenkins’ inside pass rushing abilities were well respected and he probably could have 3-4 more sacks overall if he had been able to use his hands effectively.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success – Moderate. Jenkins started out the season as the only defensive lineman who could consistently produce pressure on quarterbacks up the middle. But with the progression of nose tackle B.J. Raji near the end of the season, and the defense subbing in Howard Green on running plays lead Jenkins’ role to be reduced somewhat due to his injuries and he became more of a pass rushing specialist than an every down linemen.
6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run – Moderate. Jenkins missed most of the end of the regular season to a calf injury that he sustained during the 49ers game. With his injury the Packers went with their “big 3” personnel set (Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji and Howard Green) which was surprisingly successful enough that Capers began using the set more often, decreasing playing time for Jenkins. During the post-season, Jenkins remained a frequent member of the defense but was sharing more time with Howard Green, CJ Wilson and Jarius Wynn.
Season Report Card:
(A) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B-) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)
(B) Overall Grade for the year.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.